The Prisoner’s Throne by Holly Black

A review by Mina Nguyen

A spin-off series to The Folk of the Air series, the second book in this duology continues to follow the story of Oak, the younger brother of Jude and Taryn, and Wren. After Prince Oak’s betrayal, he is imprisoned in the North and bound to the new queen, Wren. As an attempt to save the stolen heir, Jude and Cardan are willing to do anything to retrieve Oak, but Oak will have to decide between regaining the trust of the girl he’s always loved or to remain loyal to Elfhame by ending her reign.

While I wouldn’t recommend reading this series before reading The Folk of the Air series, this duology in itself is good. It doesn’t compare to the original series, but Holly Black does a stellar job of bringing to life side characters and developing them wholly as the main characters in their spin-off series. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Wren and Oak and how their issues were different and not a replica of what went on between Jude and Cardan. Wren and Oak clearly have their own personalities and aren’t characters that attempt to mimic the original couple. Black is great at writing fantasy with a romance subplot. I really enjoyed the political turmoil in this book as well as in her previous series; she does a great job of showing the stakes; however, this one is a bit more romance-forward compared to her previous series. If you’re reading this and expecting Jude and Cardan, you’ll probably be slightly disappointed but Black makes a point to write Wren and Oak as her main characters, and she does it well. When reading the second book, I honestly couldn’t stop flipping the pages; I was constantly on the edge of my seat, even though it was slightly predictable. I really enjoyed the betrayals, which I wasn’t expecting alongside the well-developed political intrigue. While I wouldn’t recommend this as a stand-alone series, I will say it’s worth giving a read after The Folk of the Air series!

Books similar to The Prisoner’s Throne by Holly Black

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Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

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Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

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